Stuffed Red Peppers
I grew up on meat and veg. The most exotic vegetarian dish was macaroni and cheese. As a singe working adult I started eating mostly vegetarian dishes mostly because (a) I couldn’t be bothered to cook meat and (b) my skills in the meat department were extremely limited. I could make a fabulous ox tail casserole and anything that required long slow cooking. Coming home from work in those early days usually meant pasta or rice with vegetables or a salad. Even then I was never into fast food, except for the occasional to die for fish and chips from an amazing chip shop near my apartment. Wow, I in my mind’s eye I remember exactly where they were, but I cannot remember the name. Never mind.
Nowadays, as a mother I am of naturally concerned about what my family eats and I don’t think I would be able to feed them rice and veg every day without some sort of protest. In recent years I have had to increase my vegetarian repertoire somewhat and Stuffed Peppers checks all the boxes. Red peppers are seriously beautiful. They are ideal for stuffing with either rice or meat and accompanied by salad make a perfect meal. I always make sure I have a few red peppers in the fridge. They are a great standby to be added to a stir fry or roasted and added to soup, salad or simply as part of a huge platter of roasted vegetables.
These peppers are stuffed with red rice, which was left over from the day before. You can substitute the red rice with brown or white rice. To make the stuffing you do the following:
In a pan, slowly sauté one medium chopped onion or as I did, a washed and finely chopped leek.
When this is soft, add a chopped clove of garlic, one finely chopped medium to large carrot and one stick of finely chopped celery. Sauté this together until the vegetables soften.
When the vegetables are soft but still al dente (firm to the bite), you can remove the pan from the heat and mix in about two cups of cooked rice. Add a good handful of freshly chopped parsley and add in a small handful of either chopped walnuts or pine nuts. Season with salt and pepper. Mix gently and taste.
To prepare the peppers, wash them and then slice off the tops, keeping them for closing the peppers once they are filled. Very carefully clean out the seeds and the white pith. Before placing the peppers in the roasting dish you are going to bake then in, lightly oil it with olive oil. Using a spoon fill the peppers with the rice mixture. Once they are all filled, drizzle them with olive oil and replace the caps. Put the lid on the roasting dish (or some aluminium foil). Pop them into a preheated moderate oven. It will take about 45 minutes for them to be soft but still firm. If you prick them with the point of a sharp knife the knife should just go through. You don’t want them so soft that they collapse, so keep an eye on them.
Serve with a green salad and enjoy!